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Posted by Wes von Papinešu on April 27, 1999 at 19:22:46:
LAS VEGAS SUN (Nevada) 06 February 99 Leaping lizards! Classroom filled with pets adding more
Trev Ford's fourth-grade classroom looks more like a reptile house at the zoo.
But that's the point, Ford says.
"Kids are always interested in animals," Ford, a teacher at Roberta Cartwright Elementary School, said. "And a lot of them don't have snakes and spiders at home."
Ford uses the classroom pets to spark student interest in science. He prides himself on having one of the most live animal-filled elementary school classrooms in the district. His collection includes 10 reptiles. Among them: a green iguana named Jewel, several snakes, a turtle and two Savannah Monitors -- 2 1/2-foot lizards native to Africa.
The steak-eating monitors last week became the not-so-proud parents of 13 eggs, some of which may hatch by May, Ford said. The male, Poe, ate several of the eggs, but Ford rescued most of them, and they now rest in an 86-degree incubator in the classroom.
"They're really interesting," said 9-year-old Gina Preziosi, one of the students who helps feed the reptiles and clean the cages. "They lay eggs, they shed their skins."
Ford puts the animals in their cages in his garage when school is out, to the chagrin of his wife, he said. He said some of the animals were gifts, and people are frequently offering him new ones. Now he has to turn animals away, he said.
Next week, the class will study a unit specifically on desert animals, Ford said.
Several of Ford's students, who dissected a squid last week, said they were eager to learn more.
"Sometimes when you have to learn about animals, it's easier when they are in the classroom," 9-year-old Casandra Konicek said.